Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Representing the 8th District of New York

NY Daily News: Disa-pier-ing dock decays with $3M in Sandy repair aid unspent

Jul 29, 2014
In The News

The pier is in bad shape: only seven of the 40 lights work, the green hand railing is missing in several spots, metal pieces protrude from structural columns on the edge, and there's a 5-foot wide hole in the ground by the smelly bathrooms.

If only this storm-ravaged pier could be mended with red tape.

Residents are angry the National Park Service still has not repaired dozens of broken lights and other damages Hurricane Sandy wrought to Canarsie Pier nearly two years ago.

"We used to come here at night, hang out, have a good time," said Eric Stubbs, 39, who fishes at the popular dock. "All that is over now."

Seven out of 40 lamp posts work at the 600-foot pier, locals said. There are also gaps in the hand railing, protruding metal pieces along structural columns on the edge — and a 5-foot-wide hole in the ground near the pier's putrid-smelling bathrooms.

"It's dark as hell at night," said nearby resident Salvatore Amato, 40. "Why don't they come here to fix it before something bad happens?"

The federal government earmarked $3 million in disaster relief funds for the pier's repair, according to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, but officials have not been able to find a contractor to make all the necessary repairs for that price.

Park officials are barred from making piecemeal repairs on the some of the less expensive sections due to strict federal contracting regulations, said National Park Service spokeswoman Daphne Yun.

Despite two prior failed attempts, the agency plans to issue a third request for bids within the next few weeks, Yun said.

The delay has frustrated visitors of the popular pier who are forced to avoid the pitch-black dock at night and dodge crumbling tiles and other hazards during the day.

"They said they'd fix everything," said fisherman Anthony D'Amico, 31. "They didn't fix anything."

Jeffries blamed the bureaucratic morass on House Republicans, who have blocked the Obama administration's efforts to invest in crumbling infrastructure around the country.

The Canarsie Pier is "no exception" to that trend, he said.

But there could be some light at the end of the tunnel. Feds may team up with the city Parks Department to complete repairs, Jeffries said.

"While there have been no specific conversations regarding joint management of the Canarsie Pier, NYC Parks and the National Park Service are partnering to better connect surrounding communities to the natural beauty and history of the Jamaica Bay region," said Parks Department spokesman Philip Abramson.

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